Chicago's Top Cop Breaks Down Number of Gangs in City, How They're Structured

In total, Supt. David Brown said, there are 117,000 gang members, who are part of the city's 55 known gangs

NBCUniversal, Inc.

There are more than 100,000 gang members in Chicago, the city's top cop said Wednesday, hours after a shooting at a funeral, believed to be gang retaliation, left 15 people wounded.

In total, Supt. David Brown said, there are 117,000 gang members, who are part of the city's 55 known gangs.

Of those 55 gangs, there are 747 factions, which also have 2,500 subsets.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks hours after a shootout at a funeral in Chicago left 15 people wounded.

"Any day of the week, any hour of the day, [there are] several hundred gang conflicts related to that 117,000 gang members," Brown said.

According to Brown, that fuels what he described as a "cycle of violence."

"Someone was shot, which prompts someone else to pick up a gun," he said.

That, they believe, was the motive behind the shooting at a funeral in the city's Gresham neighborhood Tuesday.

Chicago authorities said they "had intelligence" that the man being mourned by family and friends was killed in a drive-by shooting in the nearby Englewood neighborhood earlier this month.

"We investigated further and there was a gang connection and we deployed our resources accordingly," Brown said.

Authorities said they believe the shooting, which unfolded around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 1000 block of West 79th Street, involved that "cycle" of gang retaliation.

According to Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan, the funeral was for a man who had been fatally shot in a drive-by shooting, which was also retaliation for a previous shooting incident.

"The individuals involved in this tit for tat have no interest in cooperating," Deenihan said. "They just want to go on to the next shooting incident."

Police said gunmen in a black vehicle opened fire on people attending the funeral Tuesday evening. People at the funeral in turn fired back and the vehicle crashed midway down the block, where the suspects then fled, Deenihan said.

One person of interest was in custody shortly after the incident, police said.

It was not immediately clear if all of the victims were attending the funeral.

"Too many people in Chicago have been touched by gun violence and the response too often is picking up a gun to seek vengeance," Brown said. "There is no comfort in revenge."

Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan describes what happened when a shootout unfolded at a Chicago funeral, leaving 15 people wounded.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called those responsible for the shooting "cowardly."

"The senseless violence, this cycle of retaliation, picking up a gun - many times in petty grievances - picking up a gun solves nothing but causes so much lifelong pain," she said Wednesday. "I pray for you but I also pray that we find you and that we bring you to justice."

Both the mayor and police pleaded for anyone who may have information on the shooting to come forward.

"This cycle of violence in Chicago needs to end," Brown said. "It ends when someone who has been hurt doesn't reach for a gun. It ends when instead someone calls our detectives, gives them a tip that might break a case open so we can hold people accountable in the criminal justice system."

Contact Us